Sunday, April 3, marks the 64th annual Grammy Awards, and singer, songwriter and Late Show with Stephen Colbert bandleader Jon Batiste tops the pack with 11 nominations, bringing his lifetime total to 14. The ceremony will see many other artists add to their already impressive nomination count, with Justin Bieber hitting 22 and Lady Gaga reaching 34. Jay-Z’s three nominations, meanwhile, have helped him achieve an astonishing feat: He has now surpassed Paul McCartney and Quincy Jones as the most-nominated artist of all time, with 83 under his belt. Even more astonishing: That’s 83 more nominations than such music legends as Bob Marley, the Velvet Underground and the Ramones ever received in their entire careers.
Ready for additional head-scratchers? These nine singers and bands have surprisingly never received a single nomination from the Recording Academy.
Worst Grammys snub: “You Really Got Me” for record of the year
Liner notes: While they never quite achieved the fame of other 1960s British bands, like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, the Kinks churned out hit after hit after hit in their 30-plus years together: “You Really Got Me,” “Come Dancing,” “All Day and All of the Night,” “Lola,” “Waterloo Sunset” and more. The Recording Academy never gave them their due, but the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame did induct the band in 1990, their first year of eligibility.
Listen here: The Kinks on Spotify
Worst Grammys snub: “Crazy” for song of the year
Liner notes: The country legend never received any love from the Grammys before her untimely death in a 1963 plane crash, though the Recording Academy has tried to make it right in the decades since: Cline received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995, and her songs “I Fall to Pieces” and “Crazy” were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
Listen here: Patsy Cline on Spotify
Worst Grammys snub: “I Wanna Be Sedated” for best rock song
Liner notes: The Queens punk band landed at number 26 on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Artists of All Time ranking and number 2 on Spin's list (behind only the Beatles), and they were a shoo-in for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility. But despite pioneering a new genre and releasing some of the most blistering singles of their generation (like “Blitzkrieg Bop”), they netted zero nominations before their 2011 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
Listen here: Ramones on Spotify
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The Velvet Underground
Worst Grammys snub: The Velvet Underground & Nico for album of the year
Liner notes: The protagonist of their 1967 song may have been “waiting for the man” (aka a heroin dealer), but the avant-garde rock band — undoubtedly one of the most sonically influential in rock history — spent years waiting for their Gram. The Rock & Roll Hall of Famers failed to ever secure a nomination, earning a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017. Singer/guitarist Lou Reed later earned his first win in 1999 for best long-form music video.
Listen here: The Velvet Underground on Spotify
Worst Grammys snub: “What Makes You Beautiful” for best pop vocal performance by a duo or group
Liner notes: The English-Irish boy band, which was formed by reality singing competition The X Factor, had four of its albums reach the top of the Billboard 200 charts, with a slew of radio-friendly hits including “Drag Me Down” and “Story of My Life.” Still, they failed to achieve a single Grammy nomination. If you’re a music snob who thinks that boy bands haven’t earned the recognition, consider that the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC have each received eight nominations. One Direction member Harry Styles got the last laugh, with three nominations for his solo work, including a best pop solo performance win for “Watermelon Sugar.”
Listen here: One Direction on Spotify
Worst Grammys snub: “Wannabe” for record of the year
Liner notes: Despite being the best-selling female group in history, the Spice Girls failed to break through when it came to Grammy nominations, which is probably yet another case of genre snobbery. “Wannabe” was undoubtedly one of the most world-conquering singles of the 1990s, and their other songs deserved recognition in the pop categories. Note that the similarly fun and danceable ABBA had been repeatedly ignored by the nominating committee until their first nomination, in 2021 — for their first new song in 40 years!
Listen here: Spice Girls on Spotify
Worst Grammys snub: Crash My Party for best country album
Liner notes: The Georgia-born country star and American Idol judge is an undeniable force in the industry, having sold more than 75 million records. He’s been named Entertainer of the Year by both the Country Music Association Awards and the Academy of Country Music Awards, who also honored him with the first Album of the Decade award for his 2013 platinum hit Crash My Party. While his fellow Idol judges Katy Perry and Lionel Richie have 28 nominations and four wins between them, Bryan remains a Grammy also-ran.
Listen here: Luke Bryan on Spotify
Bob Marley and the Wailers
Worst Grammys snub: Exodus for album of the year
Liner notes: Few artists are as synonymous with their genre as the Rastafari reggae legend, who was responsible for such beloved singles as “One Love,” “Get Up, Stand Up” and “No Woman, No Cry.” Marley never earned a nomination, but he has a unique consolation prize, in addition to his 2001 Lifetime Achievement Award: Seven of his children have received nominations, and many of them are winners!
Listen here: Bob Marley and the Wailers on Spotify
Worst Grammys snub: The Woods for best rock album
Liner notes: Known for their riot grrrl grit and feminist lyrics, Sleater-Kinney have been rocking hard since they formed in Olympia, Washington, in 1994. Their albums are always critical darlings, which often appear on year-end (and decade-end) best-of lists, and it’s particularly galling that 2005's The Woods didn't break into the Grammy club. Critic Jacob Nierenberg summed up the album’s appeal in his review for Consequence of Sound: “On The Woods, they took on classic rock and its gatekeepers and won. Here’s where they became gods.”
Listen here: Sleater-Kinney on Spotify
Nicholas DeRenzo is a contributing writer who covers entertainment and travel. Previously he was executive editor of United Airlines’ Hemispheres magazine and his work has appeared in the New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, Travel & Leisure, Sunset and New York magazine.